Rafael Muñoz - Top Pops of Latin America
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RCA Victor LPM-1054

Perfume de Gardenia
Campanitas de Cristal
Quiereme Mucho
Palabras de Mujer
Malditos Celos
Muchos Besos

Besame Mucho
Prisionero del Mar
Niebla del Riacheulo
Lo Siento Por Ti
Amor de Mis Amores

The sounds emitted by the Rafael Muñoz Orchestra may be aptly characterized in one
short phrase — "the sweetest music this side of Puerto Rico." It is a music relaxing and
lovely, full of a high-styled sentiment which never quite seems to go out of fashion; it is
music which at times may border on the delicate without ever becoming maudlin. And
most surprising and significant of all — it is the continuously-applauded and
oft-requested music of an orchestra which is no longer in existence, but which was
reassembled, with as many of its original members as possible, for the specific
purpose of making these recordings.

In a musical world which has seen the rapid rise of numerous Latin orchestras, Muñoz
has been one of the truly remarkable phenomena. Discarding the usual fads, he has
built his considerable reputation on a presentation of the best-loved Latin music in a
fashion that is at once delightful for dancing and eminently listenable. He has not been
above passing fads and fancies, but from them he has chosen just those things which
have fitted best with his orchestra and his personal style. In a word, he has never let
the public down.

The program which Muñoz and the orchestra undertake in this new recording is one
which they might have played at almost anytime during their distinguished
career — every selection is a Latin tune of modern popularity which has remained as
an everyday "standard" in all those countries south of the Rio Grande. Unfortunately,
the Muñoz orchestra is no longer enjoying an active career, but for this recorded
concert every available original member was assembled, including vocalist José Luis
Moneró. It is interesting to note that Muñ
oz' son Raffi, who was undoubtedly in short
pants when the orchestra first made its mark, is also heard in several selections.

All of the composers represented by this music are of the first magnitude, men like
Mexico's Agustin Lara and Luis Arcaraz, and Puerto Rico's Rafael Hernandez. The
sound and style with which Mu
ñoz surrounds such lovely tunes as Prisionero del
Mar (Prisoner of the Sea), Quiereme Mucho (Yours)
and Muchos Besos (Lots of
have never left the public mind despite the orchestra's absence from the
active lists. To them — and they are countless — this is the only way to frame the
sentiments expressed by Perfume de Gardenia, Palabras de Mujer (I'll Dream Some
and LoSiento Por Ti (I Feel for You). There is no other way, and the enthusiasm
they have always shown for Muñ
oz' music, plus the unfailing demand for his records,
have prompted the refitting of that original orchestra and this resultant demonstration
of its charm and prowess.

Muñoz—who was born in 1911 in Quebradilias, Puerto Rico—has had, even apart
from his orchestra, a really full career. He is, himself, an accomplished instrumentalist,
being more than merely proficient on the saxophone, flute, trumpet and bass. He has,
at one time or another, been a school teacher, music teacher and theater manager,
and he was instrumental in forming the Puerto Rican Musicians Union, serving as its
first President. Muñ
oz formed his first orchestra in 1929, but it was not until a later
date, when he opened the Escambron Beach Club, that he made his enormous
repatation. The excellence of his orchestras is attested to by the fact that they have
been a developing ground for other band leaders such as Noro Morales and Cesar

Muñoz' music is undeniably sweet, but it is not sticky; it has a universality which first
gained its popular stature and which is as definitely apparent in these recordings as it
was at anytime during his career. It is all wrapped about with romance of some kind,
and in Muñoz' hands it remains that way — unaffected by gimmicks, coming to us in all
its sweetness.

Bill Zeitung

Copyright 1955, Radio Corporation of America

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